No Republican Challenger for Bill Keating? GOP Congressional Hopeful Helen Brady Off Ballot — At Least For Now

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The Ninth is supposed to be Massachusetts’s most competitive Congressional district for Republicans, but this year the party may not have a candidate on the ballot against Democratic U.S. Representative Bill Keating.

The State Ballot Law Commission has ruled that Helen Brady, a Republican, does not have valid signatures to make it onto the ballot for the September 1 primary.

Brady, who was the Republican Party’s nominee for State Auditor in 2018, needed 1,000 valid signatures as of May 5. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, those signatures could be collected electronically this year for party-affiliated candidates, and the signature requirement was half of the usual 2,000 mark, because of a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision.

Brady thought she got enough signatures in time and in a manner within the rules. But a challenge upended her campaign — at least for now. She blames William Galvin, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, for her predicament.

“I knew when I was at the hearing when they said, we’ll let you know on Friday,” Brady told New Boston Post in a telephone interview earlier this week. “I felt like it was already a done deal before I already got to the hearing. I felt that when I received the notice in the mail, I was being targeted. They didn’t have concerns about that software. They waited for me. I’m up against Galvin, I’m up against Galvin’s friend Keating. I think they are interfering with an election and suppressing the will of voters who want to have a choice in November. But it got taken away by three people on some elections commission.”

“I’m appealing the ruling,” she added. “Nobody puts Brady in a corner. Not happening.”

She said she planned to consult with lawyers on her next step.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office told New Boston Post it would not comment on Brady’s case. 

As a result of the ruling, the Massachusetts Ninth may become the most competitive district in the country to not have both a Democrat and Republican running this year. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, the district is a D+4, meaning that it votes four points more Democratic than the national average.

In total, there are 62 districts in the range of D+4 to R+4 — and of those, the Massachusetts Ninth might possibly not have an opportunity to elect a registered Republican to office.

Initially, it appeared as though Brady would end up on the ballot with 1,066 valid signatures. However, Brady received a letter from a lawyer representing a member of the Democratic State Committee on June 7 objecting to her signatures. Brady then had a hearing on June 16 and on June 26 before the State Ballot Law Commission.

The commission decided Brady couldn’t make the ballot in the state Republican primary September 1 Brady used a third-party contractor to collect signatures and then imported the signatures onto her nomination papers. 

Brady used a site called which had voters fill out a form at the bottom of the page that was not a part of the actual nomination papers.

When the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled that candidates could collect signatures electronically (in a case called Robert Goldstein & others v. Secretary of the Commonwealth), it said that they had to be collected on “native” documents, as mentioned on page 29 of the ruling. That means that registered voters could print out the nomination papers and sign them using a pen or digitally sign the document with either a stylus or a mouse.

“Based upon the testimony and evidence submitted, the Commission finds, rules and concludes that the nomination papers submitted for certification to local election officials and ultimately filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth were not the ‘native’ nomination papers actually signed, in person and in real time, by the voter in accordance with the standards and requirements set out in the Goldstein Case and thereby are in violation of the legal requirements prescribed to gain access to the ballot,” the commission’s June 26 decision states.

It’s a form of technology that four candidates who will be on the ballot this September used to get at least some of their signatures. According to an online search, such candidates include Norfolk County Republican Sheriff candidate Jerry McDermott, Republican Fourth Congressional District Julie Hall, Suffolk County Democratic Register of Probate candidate Kerby Roberson, and Democratic Sixth Congressional District candidate Jamie Belsito. But nobody challenged their signatures, so their ballot status did not come before the State Ballot Law Commission.

Brady offered her thoughts that day in a Facebook post.

“The Ruling in a nutshell:  The Secretary of States Elections Commission decided that the software used by 39 other candidates was perfectly acceptable but when I passed in my CERTIFIED Signatures (well after the other 39 candidates submitted theirs) using the SAME EXACT software MINE were no good,” she wrote. “Oh and Galvin and Keating go WAY BACK so there’s that! Plain and simple and openly corrupt — They have no shame! Voter censorship and suppression is what this ruling boils down to.”

“Please call 617-727-2828 if you want to register your complaint with SS Bill Galvin about his Commission of three and their decision to ignore my right to be on the ballot per the SJC ruling–unbelievable but then again ONE party rule not exactly what the founding fathers had in mind,” she added.

Brady announced her run in a Facebook post on April 27 — eight days before the May 5 deadline to file signatures.

In her post announcing her run, she wrote that she was running to ensure people had another option to vote for other than the incumbent, Keating.

If Brady’s appeal this time around is unsuccessful, she said she wouldn’t rule out running a sticker/write-in campaign to get the nomination. If she does that, she would need 2,000 votes in the September primary and more votes than any other Republican candidate, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.

“I think I’ll get to that step after I see how much energy goes into this,” she said. “I feel I don’t want to let people down. I want people to have a choice. I want to have a choice. It’s a hard decision to run for office. It’s something I feel I have to do. I’m following my heart. If people don’t run, there’s no hope. We need people to step up. Nobody runs. They don’t want to put their families through it. I know people who said ‘don’t run’, but my husband and kids told me, ‘go fight them, mom!’ They wouldn’t expect anything less.”

Even if there is no Republican on the ballot, there may be another option for Ninth Congressional District voters come election day. Former St. John Paul II High softball coach and Brewster resident Mike Manley, who is pro-life, is collecting signatures to run as an independent. The signature deadline for independent Congressional candidates is July 28. 

The Massachusetts Republican Party could not be reached for comment for this story.